I have lived most of my life in New England. I love all four seasons but I have to admit, winter is tough sometimes. The days are shorter and much colder. I crave hearty meals and warm coffee drinks. I am restless, while at the same time I have less energy.
This winter, armed with some advice from my friends and my favorite healthy living bloggers, I am going to focus on one trouble spot in my day – the mid-afternoon work snack. Right around 3pm I hit my afternoon slump and I seem to crave a gingerbread latte and some sort of huge pastry with lots or frosting or crumble on top. I did a little research and talked to my friends to get some ideas for how to combat that 3pm urge.
So here are some healthy snacks that are known for being tasty and for giving you a much needed energy boost:
Sliced apple with peanut butter – an apple a day keeps the… Apples are great. Easy to pack for work because they don’t need any refrigeration and are good for you. Add a little protein with the peanut butter and this duo becomes a homerun for a healthy afternoon snack.
Yogurt, granola and fruit – I just rediscovered this big snack and I am addicted. Just a simple low (or non) fat vanilla yogurt, sliced fruit (like strawberries) and a serving size of granola. Make yourself a little parfait and this snack could almost count as a mini meal.
Popcorn – After doing a little label shopping, you can find a tasty microwavable popcorn option that you can make right in the office. Some brands even offer a single serving size. If not, you can pop a whole bag and save the rest for the next day. You can also pop it on your stovetop at home and bring it, versus a microwave brand.
Veggies and Hummus – I try to be good and bring a snack bag of carrots or celery but lots of times that same snack bag gets taken right back home because I didn’t eat it. From now on I am going to try bringing a single serving of hummus with me and noshing on those veggies with the hummus.
Nuts – Almonds and walnuts are good snacks to bring to work. There are even almonds out there that have the portion sizes on the side of the container so you can be more aware of how many you are eating. You can also mix a snack bag of half nuts and half dried cranberries. All are easy to pack and easy to store.
Hard Boiled Eggs – Protein is one of the best ways to give your body more energy and eggs have a lot of protein. I have heard both sides of the argument on eating the yolk or discarding it. I think it should be up to you. Boil a bunch of eggs and leave them at your house. Bring one with you to work for a protein punch.
Rice cakes – The last time I had a rice cake was probably in the late 80s or early 90s and I didn’t remember them being that good. I tried them again recently and they are much better now! There are lots of different sizes and flavors. Again, they are really easy to pack with you and good for a little boost in the afternoon.
String Cheese and fruit – Cheese gets a bad rap but it is good for you if you keep an eye on the nutritional information and suggested serving sizes. String cheese now comes in lower fat options and different sizes. If you pair your string cheese with a small serving of fruit you have a perfect afternoon snack.
Water – I think most of us have heard the latest buzz that if you think you are hungry, you should try drinking water first. Sometimes your body is just dehydrated and when the signals get to us, it seems more like a hunger pain. Keep yourself hydrated during the day and you may find yourself less likely to need as many snacks.
Tea – Tea has half the caffeine of coffee (most). My problem with coffee isn’t the caffeine but it is the cream, sugar, lattes with whole milk etc. that really throw a wrench in the gears. This winter I am going to try drinking more tea with a taste of honey so that I am not drinking as many calories by accident.
Low fat chocolate milk – I recently ran a half marathon and a chocolate milk company was one of the major sponsors. Low fat chocolate milk can be a sweet treat, makes you feel full and is good for you.
I hope some of these were helpful! I would love to hear more from you in the comments on tasty afternoon snacks you are incorporating into your work day! I can use all the help I can get ☺!
Amanda O’Brien is originally from Peaks Island, Maine and currently works at Hall Web Services managing their inbound marketing team. She is a self proclaimed workaholic who tries to maintain a busy lifestyle. She is an amateur yogi and runner. Amanda contributes regularly to the Guiding Stars Blog.